Lordstown’s disappointing wind-turbine experiment ends
By ED RUNYAN
A project to use two wind turbines at Lordstown Village Hall to generate electricity is coming to a close after the village sold both turbines for $1.
Mayor Arno Hill said the village sought bids to sell the turbines three times before Larry Tura of Lordstown, a member of the village’s zoning board of appeals, offered $1 to remove them. Village council approved the sale March 18.
Hill said neither of the turbines have worked for about two years, and they are costly to fix, so the village secured the propellers to stop them from turning to reduce the potential for one to come loose and hurt someone.
That did not work for one of the turbines, however, so it has continued to spin in recent months.
“We have concerns about the blades spinning in the high wind,” Hill said. “It sounds like a helicopter is landing.”
When the turbines were installed in 2011, the village was told to expect them to generate enough electricity to reduce the electric bill for village hall by $300 to $500 per month. Hill said the actual amount of savings was “about $550 per year.”
“They didn’t pan out,” Hill said. “We said just get rid of ‘em and get them out of there.”
Last week, at a rally in Michigan, President Donald Trump continued his criticism of renewable energy, saying the wind does not always blow.
“If it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night,” he said at the rally. “‘Darling, I want to watch television.’ ‘I’m sorry! The wind isn’t blowing.’ I know a lot about wind,” the president added.
In March 2011, Greg Courtney of Wind Turbines of Ohio LLC in Alliance, which provided the turbines, said they should operate with “no maintenance for 30 to 50 years.”
When contacted Tuesday, Courtney said he still runs Wind Turbines of Ohio but said he is not familiar with the problems Lordstown has had with its wind turbines.
As for wind turbines in general, he said, “I have one at my house. I love it.” When asked whether he could refer a reporter to another local wind turbine installation that has been successful in Trumbull or Mahoning counties, he said he could not.
Lordstown’s 10-kilowatt-hour turbines mounted on 100-foot towers cost $131,700. The village paid $13,170, with the rest coming from $65,850 in grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission by way of the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and $52,680 from the Ohio Department of Development.
Kathy Zook, ARC program manager for Trumbull, Mahoning and Ashtabula counties, said she commends Lordstown for its forward-thinking effort to protect taxpayers’ money with the project.
When turbines were unveiled to the public, then-mayor Michael Chaffee said he believed Lordstown was the first local government body to have them.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers installed a 2.4-kilowatt wind turbine at its union hall on Research Parkway in Champion in 2009. The IBEW took it down for maintenance a year ago but plans to reinstall and operate it later this year, said Eric Davis, training manager.